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Safest Cities in West Virginia

  • Population
    1,804,291
  • Avg Annual Rent
    $8,933
  • Avg Household Income
    $37,662
  • Cost of Living
    23.80%
  • Violent Crime Rate
    7.6
  • Property Crime Rate
    168.2
  • Primary Care Ranking
    14
  • Mental Health Provider
    48

Referred to as The Mountain State due to its location in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is considered one of the most scenic states in the U.S. With its natural beauty made famous by the John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” West Virginia is a great place for a long road trip. Other popular outdoor activities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing and water sports. West Virginia also has plenty of history, which visitors can learn about at the State Museum in Charleston or the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, which lets you relive the golden age of steam.

West Virginia is a relatively small state with a population just shy of 1.8 million. Let’s take a look at which of West Virginia’s cities are the safest to live in and visit.

How We Determined the Safest Cities in West Virginia

We narrowed down the safest cities in each state based on two primary categories. First, we evaluated public safety factors including violent, property and hate crimes in each area to help determine the safest areas to live. We then evaluated financial and socioeconomic factors including household income, average rent and health insurance. In addition, we evaluated each state for natural disaster safety and public health safety. You can find a detailed breakdown of our methodology and links to sources here.

Here are the public safety factors we counted for each city:

*Public safety data is based on a population of 10,000 (for example, a “2” means two incidents for every 10,000 people).

  • Property crime – Number of property crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Violent crime – Number of violent crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Aggravated assaults – Number of aggravated assaults reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Hate crime – Number of hate crimes reported in the city (FBI Hate Crime Report)
  • Officer-related incidents – Number of officer-involved shootings reported in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
  • Mass shootings – Incidents in which four or more people are shot/killed in the city (Gun Violence Archive)

Here are the financial safety factors we counted for each city:

  • Annual rent – Annualized median rent
  • Unemployment rate – The average rate of unemployed residents in each city
  • Cost of living – The average annual rent and household income per city
  • Poverty rate – Percentage of families that reported experiencing poverty in the last 12 months
  • Uninsured employed – Percentage of employed residents that reported not having health insurance
  • Uninsured unemployed – Percentage of unemployed residents that reported not having health insurance

5 Safest Cities in West Virginia

  • No. 1 Ravenswood

    Ravenswood is a small city in Jackson County that sits along the Ohio River. The city is home to a number of historical buildings, which can be found in the Old Town Historic District, including the Lemley-Wood-Sayer House and the Old Ravenswood School. Ravenswood benefits from very low crime rates and a low unemployment rate. 

    83out of 100

    Public Safety

    53out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    2.688172 (1st)40.32258 (5th)91.39785 (2nd)2.688172 (2nd)2.688172 (2nd)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    9756 (2nd)35964 (3rd)0.03 (4th)0.179 (4th)0.096 (2nd)0 (4th)
  • No. 2 Kenova

    Kenova a small town on the western edge of the state. Kenova sits on the borders of both Ohio and Kentucky, beside the Ohio River. One of the popular attractions in Kenova is the Virginia Point Park, which overlooks the two neighboring states. Kenova has the smallest population on this list and is also one of the safest cities in West Virginia.

    78out of 100

    Public Safety

    60out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    20.14099 (5th)0 (1st)127.5596 (3rd)3.356831 (3rd)3.356831 (3rd)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    7692 (4th)33938 (4th)0 (5th)0.126 (5th)0.103 (1st)NA
  • No. 3 Buckhannon

    Buckhannon sits alongside the Buckhannon River in central West Virginia. It’s a great place to visit for nature lovers, with the WV Wildlife Center south of the city and the Buckhannon River Walk Trail for hiking. While crime rates are low overall, Buckhannon has the highest rate of hate crime on this list.

    79out of 100

    Public Safety

    55out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    3.625816 (2nd)3.625816 (2nd)319.0718 (5th)7.251632 (5th)7.251632 (5th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    8148 (3rd)38824 (2nd)0.069 (3rd)0.196 (1st)0.054 (4th)0.321 (2nd)
  • No. 4 Ranson

    Located close to the Virginia border, the city of Ranson is a small town with plenty to see. Ranson is a short distance from the Jefferson County Museum and the Old Opera House in Charles Town. History fans can also visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to see the museums and old battlefields. Ranson has the highest average rental costs on this list but also has the highest average income. 

    80out of 100

    Public Safety

    50out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    5.668934 (3rd)22.67574 (4th)51.02041 (1st)3.779289 (4th)3.779289 (4th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    13488 (1st)56734 (1st)0.1 (1st)0.195 (2nd)0.029 (5th)0.256 (3rd)
  • No. 5 Moundsville

    There’s plenty to see and do in this small West Virginia town. Some of the top attractions in Moundsville include the Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, Grand Vue Park and the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. The city boasts low average rental prices, but it also has a low average household income and a high unemployment rate. 

    74out of 100

    Public Safety

    48out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    5.940359 (4th)14.25686 (3rd)251.8712 (4th)1.188072 (1st)1.188072 (1st)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    7164 (5th)31803 (5th)0.08 (2nd)0.181 (3rd)0.055 (3rd)0.365 (1st)

West Virginia State Safety

Natural Disaster Safety

When it comes to natural disasters, West Virginia is ranked as one of the safest states, according to the Insurance Journal rankings. However, the state is not immune to natural disaster risk. Some of the most common ones to affect West Virginia include flooding, storms, wildfires and landslides. Among the most recent disasters in West Virginia were the 2016 floods, which caused 15 deaths and the destruction of many homes across the state. 

48out of 50

Natural Disaster

Health Safety

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the leading cause of death in West Virginia is heart disease. This is followed by cancer, accidental deaths and respiratory diseases. West Virginia ranks worst in the country for drug-related deaths, according to America’s Health Rankings. The state fares a bit better in air quality, coming in 29th place for its rate of air pollution. 

Regarding the availability of healthcare, West Virginia is ranked highly for its number of primary care physicians available per 100,000 people — sitting at 14th place. However, when it comes to mental health care providers, West Virginia is ranked in 48th in the nation.

44out of 50

Health Safety

Top 5 Safest Cities in West Virginia

Ravenswood3,720131
Kenova2,979412
Buckhannon5,516323
Ranson5,292244
Moundsville8,417555